Disability Policy News In Brief

September 25, 2017

AUCD, Disability Policy News In Brief, every Monday AUCD, Disability Policy News In Brief, every Monday
September 25, 2017   |   Vol. XV, Issue 141
AUCD, Disability Policy News In Brief, every Monday, FacebookAUCD, Disability Policy News InBrief, every Monday, TwitterDisability Policy News InBrief, every Monday, SharespaceAUCD, Disability Policy News In Brief, YouTube list Tuesday Morning with LizspaceAUCD, Disability Policy News In Brief, every Monday, Subscription formAUCD, Disability Policy News In Brief, every Monday, ArchiveAUCD, Disability Policy News In Brief, every Monday, RSS

Health Care

Today, the Senate Finance Committee is holding the one and only hearing on the latest proposal (see detailed summary of Graham-Cassidy) to repeal the Affordable Care Act protections, make drastic cuts to Medicaid and fundamentally alter Medicaid from an entitlement to per capita caps.  People with disabilities have been waiting in line to get into the 2 p.m. hearing since 7:00 a.m. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) sponsored several press conferences since the bill's introduction last Wednesday to bring media attention to the issue. With only 50 votes needed to pass the bill under reconciliation rules (which expires on September 30), the Republicans can afford to lose only two Senators.  Senator John McCain (R-AZ) already announced the he would vote no.  Senators Rand Paul (R-KY), Susan Collins (R-ME), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), and more recently Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Mike Lee (R-UT), have all stated they have concerns with the bill as currently written.  The bill's authors - Senators Graham (R-SC), Cassidy (R-LA), Johnson (R-WI), and Heller (R-NV) - are currently negotiating with these senators and making changes to the bill to try to win their votes.  There have  been five versions of the bill since Wednesday (here's the latest version). Congress has a deadline of Sept. 30 to use reconciliation procedure.

The Congressional Budget Office said it would not have time to score the bill before the vote this Wednesday. This means Senators are voting on a bill for which they do not know the full impact. However, since the bill is similar to bills that have already been defeated, experts are able to make some estimates.  A new analysis from Avalere finds that the Graham-Cassidy bill would lead to a substantial reduction in federal Medicaid funding to states of $713 billion through 2026 and more than $3.5 trillion over a 20-year period if block grant funding is not reauthorized.  The bill also allows states to waive most federal protections that are currently in place for those with pre-existing conditions. Another Avalere report show how much each state will lose under block grants.

AUCD provided written testimony to the Finance Committee and signed onto numerous letters in opposition to the bill.  AUCD also joined CCD colleagues on Hill visits with key Senate offices last week to educate them about the impact of the bill on people with disabilities and encouraged its members to do the same. For more information please visit AUCD's Advocacy Center.

Social Security

The House of Representatives is considering a proposal (H.R. 2792) that would bar payment of Social Security and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits to people with an outstanding arrest warrant for an alleged felony or an alleged violation of probation or parole. This cut to SSI would be used to pay for reauthorization of the Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting (MIECHV) program.

AUCD wrote a letter opposing the bill and signed onto a CCD letter in opposition.  This bill would bring back failed policy that had catastrophic effects for many people with disabilities and seniors, employing procedures that did not withstand judicial scrutiny. The Social Security Act already prohibits payments to people fleeing from law enforcement to avoid prosecution or imprisonment. This bill would not change these policies and procedures. Instead, the bill could lead to hundreds of people - whom law enforcement is no pursuing - to lose essential benefits. Most of the warrants in question are decades old and involve minor infractions, including warrants routinely issued when a person was unable to pay a fine or a probation supervision fee. Reauthorization of the MIECHV program should never come at the expense of cuts to SSI, which would harm seniors, adolescents, and adults with disabilities, and their families.

Tuesdays with Liz: Disability Policy for All

In this week's edition of Tuesdays with Liz: Disability Policy for All, Liz interviews Bruce Keisling, Director of the Boling Center for Developmental Disabilities and chair of this year's AUCD conference. Liz and Bruce talked about what to expect at the upcoming conference. In case you missed last week, Liz interviewed Conchita Hernandez, chair of METAS - Mentoring Engaging and Teaching all Students. Liz and Conchita spoke about METAS and what blindness skills means.



For more from AUCD, follow @AUCDNews and like AUCD on Facebook

For updates from our Executive Director Andy Imparato, follow @AndyAUCD.

For more policy news, follow Kim on Twitter at @kmusheno

For definitions of terms used in In Brief, please see AUCD's Glossary of Legislative Terms 

AUCD | 1100 Wayne Avenue, Suite 1000 | Silver Spring | MD | 20910